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Morgan Freeman dismisses Black History Month and term African-American, says his story is "an American story"

Freeman described both the celebration and the term “African American” as an “insult”

Moran Freema
Morgan Freeman | EFE

June 18, 2024 1:05am

Updated: June 18, 2024 9:31am

Acclaimed Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman, in a recent interview with Variety magazine, expressed strong criticism of the celebration of Black History Month, which takes place every February in the United States to commemorate history and achievements. of African Americans.

“I detest it. The mere idea of it. You are going to give me the shortest month in a year? And you are going to celebrate ‘my’ history? This whole idea makes my teeth itch. It’s not right,”said the actor, who at 87 years old has maintained a critical stance regarding Black History Month on several occasions.

“My history is American history. It’s the one thing in this world I am interested in, beyond making money, having a good time and getting enough sleep.”

In a previous interview with The Sunday Times's Culture magazine, Freeman was even more explicit, describing both this celebration and the term “African American” as an “insult.”

“I don’t subscribe to that title,” he told the British newspaper. “Black people have had different titles all the way back to the N-word and I do not know how these things get such a grip, but everyone uses ‘African American’.

“What does it really mean? Most Black people in this part of the world are mongrels. And you say Africa as if it’s a country when it’s a continent, like Europe.”

For the actor, this term does not adequately reflect the complexity and diversity of Black identity in the United States.

“What does it really mean? he rhetorically asked in the previous interview. “Most Black people in this part of the world are mixed race. And you say 'Africa' as if it were a country when it is a continent, like Europe.”

Freeman also shared his agreement with an opinion from renowned actor Denzel Washington’s statement that he was “very proud to be Black, but Black is not all I am.”

Freeman said: “Yes, exactly. I’m in total agreement. You can’t define me that way.”

Freeman has recently worked as an executive producer with Kevin Costner of the new series about the Civil War, “The Gray House,” which was recently presented at the Monte Carlo Television Festival, where he received the Crystal Nymph award, in recognition of his outstanding career in the world. of entertainment.

Black History Month was recognized as a national holiday in 1976, when Republican President Gerald Ford formalized the celebration that had begun decades earlier as a week of recognition created by Harvard historian Carter G. Woodson and Minister Jesse E. Moorland.